Thursday 19 April 2018

Will Smith hailed as 'champion for diversity' at MTV Movie Awards

Smith is celebrating 30 years in showbusiness
Smith is celebrating 30 years in showbusiness
Charlize Theron arrives at the MTV Movie Awards (AP)
Jessica Chastain arrives at the MTV Movie Awards (AP)

Will Smith was hailed as a "champion for diversity" as he was honoured at the MTV Movie Awards.

The actor received the Generation Award recognising his film career after starring in blockbusters ranging from Independence Day and Men In Black to Muhammad Ali biopic Ali, and I Am Legend.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was named movie of the year, while the film's British star Daisy Ridley was awarded a golden popcorn statue for breakthrough performance for her role as Rey.

Smith, who was joined at the ceremony in Los Angeles by sons Trey and Jaden, joked that he thought his honour was "code for the old-ass dude award".

"This is absolutely beautiful," he said. "I released my first record when I was 17. I'm 47 years old now. This June marks 30 years in this business.

"I'm dedicated to being a light in this world."

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, who presented Smith with his award, said: "Will is a champion for diversity in Hollywood, blazing a path for actors by showing that someone of any colour can play any role, and can open any movie and win any award and be the biggest freaking movie star in the whole world."

Actress Queen Latifah also paid tribute to Smith and described him as the "king of all blockbusters".

Ridley beat her Star Wars co-star and fellow Briton John Boyega to win the breakthrough performance award.

The 23-year-old Londoner said: "It feels especially amazing to be part of a film that represents people of all genders, all races and all ages in such a positive and aspirational way."

Melissa McCarthy became the first woman to receive the Comedic Genius award, while Straight Outta Compton, which told the story of gangsta rap pioneers NWA, won the True Story Award.

The cast referred to their Oscars snub on stage as they were joined by the group's original member DJ Yella.

Jason Mitchell, who played Eazy-E in the film, said: "I want to thank the Academy..." before he was interrupted by co-star O'Shea Jackson Jr, who portrayed his own father Ice Cube.

Comedian Kevin Hart and wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who hosted this year's event at Warner Bros Studios, performed a comedy song together about The Revenant, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, with the lyrics: "Leo got f***** by a bear.".

Pitch Perfect 2 stars Rebel Wilson and Adam DeVine shared a passionate moment on stage after winning the best kiss award. The pair locked lips and rolled around on the stage floor, recreating their movie romance.

Chris Pratt received the award for best action performance for his role in Jurassic World, and thanked a long list of Hollywood action heroes including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Liam Neeson and David Hasselhoff.

The Parks and Recreation star, who played raptor wrangler Owen Grady in the dinosaur blockbuster, also paid tribute to his wife, actress Anna Faris.

"Our son was destined to be tough, but thanks to you he's going to be smart, too," Pratt said.

Ryan Reynolds won best comedic performance for superhero film Deadpool and was introduced on stage by female hip hop group Salt N Pepa.

"We had a blast on this movie but it wasn't all unicorns and cocaine," he said. "This cast and crew gave their last drop of blood to make the most authentic Deadpool movie as humanly possible."

Reynolds also thanked his wife, actress Blake Lively.

"Everything I do is to make her laugh, especially the sex," he said.

Charlize Theron won best female performance for her role in Mad Max: Fury Road, while Amy Poehler won best virtual performance for her role as Joy in the Pixar film Inside Out.

The show will be aired on MTV UK on Monday at 8pm.

Press Association

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